A Jesus-y Post About Sex n' Marriage

*Warning! This blog post is all Christian-y and stuff*

I had a discussion with a friend of mine who is getting her degree in divinity somewhere up North. During the course of that brief discussion, there were a number of profound conclusions we came to (or at least that were profound to the two of us) leading her to make the following utterance:

“Malaka, the next blog I read from you better be on this topic. If it’s not, I’m coming to Atlanta to beat you.”

Well, since I’ve never had a member of the clergy neither physically threaten me nor do I plan to have a man/woman of the frock do so anytime SOON, I’ve decided to be obedient.

Oh don’t judge her! Even Jesus lashed a few people in the temple for desecrating the Father’s house. I’m sure there is a class in her monastery: Lashing sinners 101…or something of that sort.

Anyway, this particular friend of mine is in the process of nursing a broken heart and has been doing so for well over a year. She blogs about the pain she’s been through with such veracity that I literally walk away from her posts feeling hollow and heartsick myself. She declares that there is no real reason for the break up. They both love each other very much, but distance is keeping them apart. He lives in a neighboring state.

Now, to someone like me, this is absolutely ludicrous. The answer seems very simple, in my book. He and/or I would bloody well have to scrape our pennies together and commit to seeing each other twice a month at least, PARTICULARLY if we lived in neighboring states. It’s a small price to pay for love, is it not?

Apparently, it’s not that simple. There are other factors keeping them apart. I’ve come to the conclusion that there is more to the story than I’m being told, because distance alone doesn’t seem to be a good enough reason to keep two previously knitted hearts apart and in pain.

None of that is the point of the post that I’ve been ordered to write, however. How God feels about it, is.

“If God ever sees fit for me to birth children, I will tell them never to give their heart and soul to anyone outside of marriage,” my friend declared. “Especially my daughters.”

(By the way, I’ve decided to call my friend “Pastor Kiki.” “My friend” sounds so impersonal.)

I nodded on the other end of the phone.

“Dude, I totally agree! It took me years to get over my first love. It was definitely one of the hardest experiences of my life.”

The feelings of loss and utter ruin I felt as a teenager after he-whose-name-shall-not-be-uttered-in-this-blog threatened to bubble up within me at that moment, 18 years later. I smashed them back into the jagged hole in my heart I’d created for them as a 16 year old girl.

Pastor Kiki launched into a high pitched monologue, as she is wont to do when she gets excited. (Lord, I hope she loses that tic when she starts preaching at the pulpit.)

“I think part of the problem with the Church is how we’ve spun sex before marriage and sin in the modern age,” she mused.

I knew where she was going and had to jump in.

“You’re right,” I interjected. “I think the conversation has been so condemning and one directional. The church does a bad job of talking about how our sin affects God. I think it’s done a particularly bad job when it comes to love and sex before marriage. I think that when you’re broken hearted it breaks God’s heart too.”

She squealed on the other end of the phone and it was at that point she promised to thrash me if I did not write a blog on this subject.

God Almighty (in my humble opinion) is possibly the most misunderstood being in the universe. Despite numerous sonnets, volumes and texts devoted to His personhood, most of mankind still does not know Him (or Her…or shoot, Them). Most of us put God in the box of our experience. When we need our foes smitten and scattered, we pull Him out and declare that God will punish our foes accordingly! When we need our rent paid or college tuition covered, we quote scriptures about streets of gold and houses with mansions in Heaven. You get the picture.

However, I wonder why we don’t ever hear more about God as Abba – our Father? Oh yes, Christians spout off about being ‘a child of the King’, but that statement is usually provoked by some perceived slight and is tantamount to religious posturing and pouting, not a conviction based on a solid relationship with God. If we think of God as our Father, the author and creator of all life, a person with real feelings and thoughts, then perhaps our attitudes towards sin would be a lot different.

When we think of sin, we usually think of the big three, i.e. rape, murder and robbery; but I once heard sin described as anything that separates you from the will of God. With such a broad description, a lot of things outside of our narrow scope of what a sin is becomes included. Suddenly, accepting a particular job offer may become a sin or eating a meal may be sinful. After all, working for an agency that willingly defrauds people of money could be considered sinful, and eating buckets of pork will certainly end your life prematurely. There are reasons why God gave commandments/laws about which foods were considered clean and unclean in the Old Testament. In the Black church particularly, we like to talk about how we are redeemed from the Law through the blood of Christ, and engage in all manner of unhealthy eating habits. But when you consider how much havoc pork has wreaked on our community and acknowledge the fact that shrimp are nothing but cockroaches of the sea, you can see why God considers ingesting these a sin. Cockroach cocktail is not His best for us.

But in this case we’re talking about sex and love before marriage. In an ideal Judeo-Christian world, every person would wait to get married before falling hopelessly in love and remain forever bound to that person ‘til they were parted by death. It just doesn’t happen in today’s society. Just like with our food choices, we’ve found ways to manage sin…or activities that are beneath what God deems his best for us. We’ve coined cute phrases like “born again virgin” to inoculate ourselves from nefarious deeds of the past and indulge in silly dalliances such a purity balls in hopes that this will thwart the raging hormones of our teenaged youth.

You know what would be nice? How about introducing our young men and women to Christ? How about we get Him off the cross and set Him on a throne so He can have a chat, real informal like? Here’s what I would imagine a conversation with my Father would sound like.

“Hey daughter.”

“Hey Dad!”

“Look, you’re getting to an age where you’re about to go through some changes. Your body is blossoming. Young men (and probably some old ones too) are going to start looking and lusting after you. Some might try to convince you that they really, really love you and that you want them as much as they want you. They’re just talking about sex. I’d rather you not do that.”

“Really? Why not?”

“Because sex is an expression of love – but it’s just one expression of love. In fact, it’s the lowest expression of love. Giving your life for the one you love is the highest. All the same, sex is still very powerful. It opens you up to another dimension that you might not be ready for. It forever binds you to the person or people you engage with. It starts with your thoughts, which is why you have to keep your thoughts pure. Your amorous thoughts should only be for someone you’ve made a commitment to, and who’s made a commitment to you.”

“Oh…ok. If you say so…”

“I know it sounds dumb, what with your fast paced world with Twitter and Facebook and friends that you can ‘unfriend’ and end relationships with the touch of a button, but your emotions and your soul are at stake. I love you, and I want the very best for you.”

“Well, I love you too, Father!”

God smiles.

“Great. Then do me a favor, will you? Don’t get your heart broken, because it will certainly break mine. When you hurt, I hurt too.”

 

God isn’t some enormous White man in a flowing toga and a beard waiting to rain down thunder and tsunamis on mankind. He wants to love us and show His kindness to us. It hurts Him when harm, any sort of harm, befalls us. Remember when Cain killed Abel? He said his “blood cried out from the earth” to Him. Just think about that.

So do the Lord a favor, please?  Guard your heart with all diligence.

How did I do, Pastor Kiki?

  • This was a very well written post which touched on multiple and often times complex issues, namely: religion, sex, relationships, AND, critical thinking-without imposing any sort of ideals, and coming off as being preachy. Critical thinking is important when it comes to navigating matters relating to religion. This I observed, with your mention of, “get Him off the cross and set Him on a throne so He can have a chat, real informal” and to that I say Amen, and I surely welcome that with open arms. I have immense problems imbing the Word, without questioning its legitimacy. In this post you made God look very approachable and loving. I see Him in quite a harsh light, as opposed to say Jesus.

    Heartbreaks are a mother, but great experiences to learn from nonetheless.
    Seriously enjoyed this piece. Pastor Kiki, I command the demons of heartache out in the Mighty Name of the Lamb and return from whence they came from-the pits of hell! [*sprinkles goat oil on you prayed for by Rev./Prophet/Dr./PHD/Evangelist/Miracle Worker/Pastor T.B. Joshua]

  • Doricci

    Beautiful article.

  • AngelOfLight

    I never actually realised it until I read it in your piece: one does not forget the people they’ve had sex with. I only ever had sex with two people – a girl I met in church in South Africa and another girl I met in Ghana, again a ‘devoted’ Christian who invited to her church in Accra before inviting me for a weekend at a lodge in Aburi, and to a movie house in East Legon on three separate occassions. I’ve never thought much of Christians and Christianity ever since.

    • Abena

      And your point being?that u think all christians are hypocrites?and u are better?correct me if I’m wrong but pre marital sex is condemned in all religions.
      #walkingawayfeelingsoconfusedwiththispost!

      • Abena – the claim that *all* Christians are hypocrites is an interesting one and one that *some* Christians seem to be quite sensitive about.

        Hypocrisy is a form of deception – one pretends to be doing something whilst actually doing the opposite. So if a Christian does not pretend to abstain from sex before marriage, to lie, cheat, gossip, follow “worldly values” such as fashion, lust for material possessions and so on, they cannot be charged with hypocrisy.

        However, I want to take this one stage further and this for me gets to the heart of the matter. So often we hear the claim that morality is the *sole* possession of the religious, that schools cannot teach morality or discipline unless they are religious. That without religion society would be immoral. Those of us that do not claim sole ownership of moral values, but see it as a collective project beyond religious dogma, would not see themselves as better than others. And can I assume that Christians would also not presume themselves better than those who do not follow their belief system?

        • Abena

          What I wanted to find out from the ‘gentleman'(gentleman used dvisedly) is what he meant by all the two ladies were supposedly true christians and after having had sex with them,he had ‘I’ve never thought much of Christians and Christianity ever since.’Meaning what?is he or he isn’t a christian himself?did he begin 2 look down on christians &christianity because two supposedly devoted christians had sex with him?
          And to u Graham so u saying if a professed christian engages in sexual immorality,following wordly stuff and balantly admits it to the world,that person can’t be described as a hypocrite?then why carry the name of christian @ all?living double life?

          • Thanks for your question Abena.
            Former Bishop, John Shelby Spong, says the example of Jesus is to “become more than we can be”. It’s similar to Nietzsche’s concept of the Übermensch that we have to transcend our human nature. The project is, of course, impossible, but it sets us on an exciting lifelong journey that never ends. Anyone who believes they have arrived surely suffers from arrogance. It’s what prompted Maya to say “When people walk up to me and tell me they are Christians, my first response is the question, “Really? Already?””.
            If I tell you that drinking too much coke is bad, it’s because I believe that it is based on the evidence available. I confess to you now, I drink too much coke! I would argue that does not make me a hypocrite. If I tell you I don’t, I’m a hypocrite because I’m being deceitful. Does that mean I have to go around and proudly tell everyone I’m doing it? Of course not! That would make me a fool. (hope that answers your question)
            If someone tells me they are a Christian I’m not really interested. I’m also not interested in what they do in their private life. What concerns me is are they negatively or positively affecting the world around them? Are they damaging other people’s lives? If one claims to be a Christian and is privately doing something that you may feel is against Christianity it’s not my business to judge that, unless it’s negatively affecting the lives of others. That’s an issue for their own conscience and understanding of what it means to be a Christian. We should also understand that there are many varieties of Christianity. For example, I would disagree with the blog post and state that following Jewish dietary laws and not eating pork or shrimp is irrelevant, as would many Christians.

          • Sorry, the Maya I’m referring to is of course Maya Angelou!

  • I love this post. I came across it on twitter. This is the same thing I say to my friends. All instruction God has given man, is to make us happy and we can only know this by getting close. The beautiful thing is that we all have a chance! I’m single and not a virgin but God still thought me good enough to save. I’m not going back to that premarital sex ever! When I look back, I wish I never had sex! I’d have saved myself a lot of problems. It’s ok though. I’ve been forgiven and I’m staying celibate and sticking to his words and plans for my life. I may not understand many things he say or wants but I don’t care to know/understand cos his plans are beautiful and he wants the absolute best for me and that’s all that matters! As for your pastor kiki friend, I believe she should take these issues to God. There’s nothing that he can’t do unless of course he wants the dissolution.. Thanks for this post once again..

  • Joghey

    Yes Malaka, Yes!

  • I believe the problem is actually an over emphasis on ‘sin’ and an over spiritualisation of sin. When Christians become obsessed with it, they become concerned with their relationship with God and seeking forgiveness from God. In doing so they neglect to repair the real relationships in their life.
    Traditional Christianity (and the Gnostic Christians it persecuted so much) all agree the flesh is bad. I disagree. My flesh is the way I experience life. Without it I may as well be a vegetable. Denigrating the flesh is a way of denigrating our experience of life. Why is sex the lowest expression of love? Why grade it at all? How can it even be separated from love?
    The problem we see is that many Christians are unaware how the bible was written and what the various texts were intended to achieve. They stay away from theology, biblical criticism (thinking it means something negative) and biblical research. The word abomination is translated from the Hebrew word toevah which means ritually unclean. It is a word that denotes disgust towards the cult practises or customs of others. This meant separating oneself from the other religious practises of the time, encouraging the Hebrews to differentiate themselves from the Canaanites. It does not refer to things that are specifically evil. That’s why we do indeed wear mixed fibres, cut our hair at the temples and wear ear rings and gold. We should understand the context these passages were written in. Eating any food in excess will lead to health issues! In the words of Saint Augustine who warned against literal readings of the bible (from “The Literal meaning of Genesis”), “We should do all that we can to avoid such an embarrassing situation, which people see as ignorance in the Christian and laugh to scorn.”

    • AngelOfLight

      My goodness! This is something I have always found amazing during my time as a believer. There was this talk of how we would never understand God’s plan for us if we used our ‘reasoning’, observed things through the ‘eyes of the flesh’…and in my mind I was like: “Why on earth do we spend thousands of dollars to try and keep our sanity? Why do we even spend more on medication and doctor’s fees if the ‘flesh’ is such an impediment to one’s spiritual progress?” Very few things actually made sense to me. Maybe it was because I chose to filter my dear pastor’s wise words through my head before allowing them to seep through and pool in my heart!

  • Mia

    I’m saving this post for when my son is ready to have the ‘talk’ so I can spew it verbatum

  • Will comment later when I have regained my composure! Lol…the imagery is oh so on point! 🙂

  • After several hours I’m back to re-read and comment, lol!
    With that said, the really interesting comments above have almost said it all. So, without adding too much drama, I’ll just say something that I heard not too long ago (but makes sense): The fear/love of the Lord doesn’t mean “Stop-ALL-evil” but HATING evil itself. As humans, it is impossible to be “Pure/Holy.” No matter how much we try, our righteousness is like filthy rags to God. At the same time, this is a really dicey subject. There’s something called obedience and disobedience. Then there’s something called sin and its prerequisites. But there’s also something called redemption; being a new creature in Christ.